Edwin is focusing on an honest and trustworthy business with his venture, Herbabytes – repairing, buying and selling electronics.
What’s your story?
After getting my Bachelors in Accounting and Finance from the Australian National University, I took the CPA and completed a Masters in Applied Finance. I was well on the road to becoming a professional accountant, just like my older brother.
However, I’ve always had a passion for technology and electronics and I was one of those guys who would save all their money to buy the latest gadgets. It was 5 years into my career when I acknowledged that accountancy really was not my calling and that I’d never be truly happy. My girlfriend at the time (now my wife) ran her own businesses and I could see that her job was a lot more fulfilling than mine.
I started dabbling part time in the buying and selling of electronics and knew there was a strong market in Singapore. Soon after, I quit my job and launched Herabytes, together with my wife and some other partners. Since the electronics industry has a bad reputation for scams and being dishonest, I knew it was important to build our own internal team and controls and to focus on service and only partner with trustworthy vendors.
What excites you most about your industry?
I still feel a sense of wonder when something new and awesome is released. I love that huge companies like Apple and Samsung are racing against each other to produce better technology and bring them to the masses. For example, 5 years ago, technology like Virtual Reality and 3D screens on a mass-market level would have been unheard of.
Besides technology itself, the people in this industry are even more fascinating. Everyday, I conduct business with people ranging from CEOs and IT Directors, to surly ex-convicts who replace screens at lightning speed.
What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and bred in Singapore. Even when I studied overseas, I always felt a connection to home and my family and I knew this is where I needed to be.
Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore. I believe in being smart and strategic in business and ultimately, Singapore is the market which I understand and operate best in. We have been able to synergise with other small businesses, which gave all of us a good head start.
Singapore is also very supportive towards small businesses and entrepreneurship and there are some opportune markets surrounding us. Singapore is a great HQ to conduct business regionally.
What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
Your wife is your greatest ally. Don’t piss her off.
Who inspires you?
I have a number of mentors who inspire me, my father would have had the biggest impact. He has always encouraged me in every decision and I can always go to him for honest, practical advice.
What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’m going to be a father soon!
If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
I would have started doing this much sooner.
How do you unwind?
I golf regularly, enjoy home cooked meals and watch a couple of TV shows in the evenings. I spend time with my parents over the weekend where we go to church, then eat at our favourite Indian restaurant.
Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Jakarta. Flights are reasonable, street food is good and cheap and I have some good friends there. I’m very much a city person and it’s a great, affordable get away.
Everyone in business should read this book:
Blue ocean strategy. It opened my mind to opportunities that I may have otherwise missed. It shows how you can be creative and stand out within your current industry or market.
Shameless plug for your business:
Herabytes solves all your device and gadget issues. We are a one stop IT hardware partner, and we have our own team of skilled repair technicians.
We help companies and end users to:
– repair phones, tablets and laptops
– procure new devices and accessories
– procure second hand phones, tablets and laptops
This interview was part of the Callum Connect’s column found on The Asian Entrepreneur:
Callum Laing invests and buys small businesses in a range of industries around Asia. He has previously started, built and sold half a dozen businesses and is the founder & owner of Fitness-Buffet a company delivering employee wellness solutions in 12 countries. He is a Director of, amongst others, Key Person of Influence. A 40 week training program for business owners and executives.
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